The Kansas City Chiefs select:
Geno Smith | QB | West Virginia
Geno Smith is the pinnacle of the 2013 Quarterback class, and a better option both in the short and long term than those likely to be available in Free Agency or via trade. Kansas City has the talent around him to be better immediately as long as they can limit his role initially. The long-term offense built around a dynamic running attack and Geno Smith is promising.
I wrote on twitter about the opportunity costs of each option that faces Kansas City in the aftermath of their recent hirings. Unless you’re holding out hope that Andy Reid’s offense can mask Matt Cassel’s deficiencies, you’ve probably came to the conclusion that Kansas City must acquire a Quarterback, with the popular opinion being that it’s too risky to take a Quarterback with the #1 overall pick because Geno Smith is not the best player on the board.
However, the opportunity cost for not taking a Quarterback here is a lack of leverage on the open market. If the Chiefs are not going to draft a Quarterback, they must be committed to winning the bidding on the Free Agent of their choice. Without leverage, that contract is likely to be more expensive than the deal the #1 pick will receive, and could end up nearing the contract Matt Cassel signed. The remaining option being accepting a stop-gap Quarterback and hoping to find the “Franchise” guy next year, which is the popular option amongst fans. The risks for that are enormous and aren’t likely to be seriously considered.
The Jacksonville Jaguars select:
Bjoern Werner | DE | Florida State
I mocked Luke Joeckel to the Jaguars in my last update, but Eugene Monroe isn’t an ideal fit at Right Tackle and would lose value. The best selection, in terms of value, is likely to be Bjoern Werner. Werner has the capability to play strong-side Defensive End and actually performed better with more weight on his frame his Sophomore season. Because of that, the Jaguars could keep Jason Babin and continue to develop Andre Branch on the other side.
Although he goes considerably later in this mock draft, don’t be surprised if the Jaguars strongly consider Ezekiel Ansah for this pick.
The Oakland Raiders select:
Dee Milliner | CB | Alabama
Milliner may not represent traditional draft value in that there are certainly better players at other positions, but for Oakland, his value is comparable with Damontre Moore and Star Lotulelei. Oakland had the worst production from their Corners in all of football, so adding Milliner makes sense.
The Philadelphia Eagles select:
Star Lotulelei | DT | Utah
A lot of people are mocking Luke Joeckel here, but the value in taking a Left Tackle for Philadelphia just doesn’t exist. Although Tackle play this season was poor, the Eagles have Todd Herremans and Jason Peters on roster. Adding Joeckel would be a long-term gain but in terms of actually improving the team he doesn’t do much.
Cullen Jenkins played has played poorly since coming to Philadelphia, partly because he’s playing out of position. A true “under” tackle in the 4-3, Lotulelei’s presence would manifest itself in the improvement of stats from last year’s first round pick Fletcher Cox, who could be in-line for a Geno Atkins-like season with Lotulelei opposite him.
The Detroit Lions select
Luke Joeckel | OT | Texas A&M
I could make the same argument I made for the Eagles, but I think the Lions are less likely to make the rational decision. Riley Reiff has the ability to slide to Guard if need be or could take over at Right Tackle for Gosder Cherilus if Cherilus isn’t resigned. The selection would almost certainly mean the end of Jeff Backus’ time in Detroit.
The Cleveland Browns select:
Demontre Moore | OLB/DE | Texas A&M
Cleveland has really struggled to generate a pass rush. Without a second round pick, Cleveland will have to make this draft pick count. They’ll have options at Wide Receiver to aid emerging star Josh Gordon in Free Agency, but a pass rusher will be harder to come by. Moore is a fit whether or not the Browns move the 3-4 defense.
The Arizona Cardinals select:
Tyler Wilson | QB | Arkansas
The Cardinals have a need on the Offensive Line, but a strong Senior Bowl from Tyler Wilson could force their hand. Although the Cardinals stated that they don’t want to give up on Kevin Kolb, it’s unlikely he’s on their roster in April considering the cost of his contract. Wilson has great physical tools, and his propensity to lock-in to his first read won’t be all-bad when it’s Larry Fitzgerald.
The Buffalo Bills select:
Ryan Nassib | QB | Syracuse
i’ve assumed this would be a pick that happens in the second round, but with Wilson going a pick before and the Quarterback-questionable Jets a pick behind, waiting to take Nassib would be an unnecessary risk. The Bills could look to move back into the first round to ensure they could acquire a Middle Linebacker or a Wide Receiver should they not fill those holes in Free Agency.
The New York Jets select:
Barkevious Mingo | OLB | LSU
The Jets are married to Mark Sanchez unless they can find someone incredibly cheap to start in front of him. (Like Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn.) I think the Jets are discovering that Greg McElroy isn’t the option, and you’re not going to find a cheap Quarterback here. Needs at Right Tackle, Running Back, Wide Reciever, and Tight End remain on the offense, but it’s much more likely the Jets will add to their defense again, especially if they retain Rex Ryan. Barkevious Mingo is a much better pass rusher when standing and will benefit from moving away from the line of scrimmage and playing in space more often. I think his athleticism suggests he’ll be able to drop into coverage at a moderately acceptable level.
The Tennessee Titans select:
Sharrif Floyd | DT | Florida
One of the most underrated prospects in the draft, Sharrif Floyd’s ability to penetrate inside will be coveted come draft day. While not a great pass-rusher, his tools suggest he will become one. He’s long, has a quick first step, and has an incredible motor for a guy his size. As long as you’re confident he can add strength, Floyd has the potential to be a special player.
The San Diego Chargers select:
Eric Fisher | OT | Central Michigan
San Diego’s biggest need is at Left Tackle. Eric Fisher is a bit of a reach according to my draft board, but he’s worth a first round selection and is the best bet remaining on the board to be a Left Tackle immediately.
The Miami Dolphins select:
Keenan Allen | WR | California
I still think Keenan Allen would be in the top 5 if he had a better Quarterback at Cal. Allen has natural hands and runs good routes, but Allen will make his money after the catch.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select:
Xavier Rhodes | CB | Florida State
Rhodes doesn’t have the ability to play man, but he’s a physical presence that will set the edge for runs on his side of the field and attack the flat with a tenacity rare for Corners.
The Carolina Panthers select:
Jesse Williams | DT | Alabama
Carolina has a huge need at the “under” Defensive Tackle position. Jesse Williams won’t accumulate stats, and for the most part didn’t at Alabama, but his ability to control the line of scrimmage, and make moot the efforts of multiple blockers was evident.
The New Orleans Saints select:
Ezekiel Ansah | DE | BYU
Ansah has elite upside but lacks experience. His reasonable draft-range is probably the largest of any potential first round target and could realistically go as high as second overall. He’ll draw unfair comparison to Jason Pierre-Paul.
The St. Louis Rams select:
Sheldon Richardson | DL | Missouri
He’s a fit whether the signing of Rob Ryan becomes official or not. If Rob Ryan does bring the 3-4, Richardson’s addition to Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford would make the Ram’s Defensive Line the most talented line Ryan has had at his espousal. If the Rams sign someone else and stay in the 4-3, he’s a great long-term fit with Brockers.